2008 Monster Energy AMA Supercross – Houston

Words by Sam Griebenow
Photos by Kyle Cowling

High winds and dark skies greeted the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series in Texas where the gates dropped for the 42nd time in Houston.  This round was the first of two in Texas, and the last West Coast Lites race until their return in Seattle.  Saturday night was a night of upsets with the winner of each class grabbing his first win of the season.  With reports of a tornado touching down just a quarter of a mile from the stadium, riders and fans alike were grateful for the closed roof which allowed the night of incredible racing to unfold.

LITES HEAT 1
Dan Reardon piloted his Torco Racing Fuels/Honda to a slim holeshot, just barely edging out Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Stroupe.  Though being denied the holeshot, Dungey quickly passed Reardon in the first rhythm section to gain the lead.  Not wanting to be left behind, Stroupe mounted an attack on Reardon passing him for second about midway through the first lap.  After a block pass on Jake Weimer by Wil Hahn, the riders outside of the top 3 were forced to roll the finish line jump at the end of the first lap, allowing Dungey, Reardon, and Stroupe to put a sizeable amount of real estate between themselves and the rest of the pack.  Dungey took the checkered flag at the end of the heat with Stroupe close in second and Reardon a distant third.  Wil Hahn rode a solid race to finish a respectable fourth place, and Weimer rounded out the top five just behind Hahn.

Unfortunately, fan favorite Gavin Gracyk couldn’t manage a comeback after a bad start and several mistakes, relegating him to the LCQ.

RESULTS:
1. Ryan Dungey
2. Austin Stroupe
3. Dan Reardon
4. Wil Hahn
5. Jake Weimer
6. Thomas Hahn
7. Brady Sheren
8. Matthew Lemoine
9. Davide Esposti

LITES HEAT 2
Jason Lawrence, determined to prove that he’s deserving of the West Coast Lites title, rocketed out of his gate and managed to grab the holeshot aboard his Yamaha of Troy/Boost Mobile YZ250F, followed closely by Robert Kiniry, Brett Metcalf, and Zach Osborne.  After Kiniry made a pass for the lead in the first rhythm section, the battle was on. Lawrence put heavy pressure on Kiniry all through the first lap and eventually passed him back in the whoops.  After regaining the lead, J-Law stayed on the gas and never looked back, taking yet another heat win.

After getting good starts, Brett Metcalf and Zach Osborne set to stalking down Robert Kiniry, who rode in second.  Both Metcalf and Osborne found their way around the Team Solitaire rider to finish second and third respective.  Kiniry managed to hold on to fourth, finishing just ahead of Kyle Cunningham, who rounded out the top five.

Further back in the pack, Justin Brayton, who entered this weekend sixth in points, got tangled up with teammate Billy Laninovich, causing both riders to go down, sending them to the LCQ.

RESULTS:
1. Jason Lawrence
2. Brett Metcalf
3. Zach Osborne
4. Robert Kiniry
5. Kyle Cunningham
6. Michael Lapaglia
7. Chris Blose
8. Adam Chatfield
9. Michael Wilard

SUPERCROSS HEAT 1
The crowd roared to life as the gates dropped for the first premiere class race of the night.  San Manuel Band of Mission Indians/Yamaha’s Chad Reed snagged the holeshot just ahead of Honda/Red Bull Racing’s Davi Millsaps and Andrew Short.  As Millsaps was making a pass for the early lead, major carnage ensued behind the top five riders seeing David Vuillemin, and Heath Voss go down.  Vuillemin, after being down for nearly half a minute, finally was able to walk off the track with the help of the Asterisk crew.  Meanwhile, the battle for the lead raged on betwe Millsaps, Reed, and Shorty.  Millsaps did his best to check out early in the race, but Reed had other plans.  After showing Millsaps a wheel nearly every corner for the first half of the heat race, Reed flew by him in the whoop section, taking over the lead on lap five.  Though Reed held on for the win, Millsaps and Shorty kept him honest the remaining four laps finishing second and third.

The top three finished over ten seconds ahead of Nathan Ramsey, who rode to a solid fourth place finish.  Nearly nine seconds behind Ramsey, Josh Hansen crossed the finish line taking the final spot in the top five.

RESULTS:
1. Chad Reed
2. Davi Millsaps
3. Andrew Short
4. Nathan Ramsey
5. Josh Hansen
6. Bryan Johnson
7. Jason Thomas
8. Jacob Marsack
9. Antonio Balbi

SUPERCROSS HEAT 2
Kevin Windham designed the Houston Supercross track, which clearly played to his favor Saturday night.  K-Dub pulled a convincing holeshot, leaving Charles Summey, Josh Hill and Ryan Clark all in his wake, and simply rode off into the night.  Windham finished nearly fourteen seconds ahead of Hill, who was able to fight past Clark and Summey to secure second.  While Summey held onto a solid third, Travis Preston fought his way up to fourth after a mid-pack start.  Preston rode a strong heat race, showing that he still has fight in him by way of a rough block pass on Dusty Klatt, who ended up tenth just behind Paul Carpenter, forcing him to ride the LCQ.

Tim Ferry, who stands third overall in the series, did not share Windham’s luck.  Red Dog started towards the back of the pack was forced yet again to slash his way through the field.  When all was said and done, Ferry crossed the line in a disappointing fifth place.

RESULTS:
1. Kevin Windham
2. Josh Hill
3. Charles Summey
4. Travis Preston
5. Tim Ferry
6. Ryan Clark
7. Jeff Gibson
8. Nick Wey
9. Paul Carpenter

LITES LCQ
More bad luck for Troy Lee Designs/Honda/Red Bull’s Gavin Gracyk and teammate Justin Keeney, who both came around the first corner well outside of the top 15.  MDK/Motorsports Tye Hames led the pack out of the first corner, followed closely by Billy Laninovich and Michael Blose.  Laninovich quickly took over the lead and checked out, while his teammate Justin Brayton crashed out for the second time of the night.

RESULTS:
1. Billy Laninovich
2. Michael Blose
3. Jeff Northrop
4. Bradley Graham

SUPERCROSS LCQ
Canadian hero Dusty Klatt grabbed the holeshot on his Cernics Kawasaki with Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s David Vuillemin closely in toe.  DV12 quickly made his move for the lead and held on to the top spot all the way to the checkered flag.  On lap two, the riders holding third through sixth all wound up in a major pileup before the final triple, leaving Klatt plenty of room to finish in second.

RESULTS:
1. David Vuillemin
2. Dusty Klatt

LITES MAIN EVENT
Ryan Dungey knew that he needed a good start to have any hope of stopping Jason Lawrence’s momentum and grabbing a win in Houston — so, Dungey did just that and led the field through the first corner, with Brett Metcalf, Jason Lawrence, and Jake Weimer all nipping at his heals.  Metcalf made a pass for the lead, but was quickly passed back by Ryan Dungey.  Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/ Kawasaki’s Austin Stroupe caught up to the top four, and the five way battle for the lead began.  After several mistakes by Weimer and Metcalf, Stroupe found himself in third, hot on the heals of J-Law and Dungey.  On the third lap, Dungey made a huge mistake in the whoop section and was bucked off of his bike, letting both Lawrence and Stroupe fly by.  Somehow, Dungey managed to keep his bike running and remounted just outside of the top five.  By lap four, Dungey had fought his way up to fourth place, but once again made a huge mistake, this time launching him clear off of his bike.  By the time that Dungey remounted and had the bike restarted, he was outside of the top fifteen.  Meanwhile, up front Lawrence and Stroupe were on the gas hard building the gap between themselves and Metcalf.  After riding on the rear tire of J-Law for the entirety of the sixth lap, Stroupe executed a beautiful pass on Lawrence, taking over the lead and never looking back.  Not too far back from Lawrence, Metcalf went down in the first corner on the last lap, letting Weimer and a charging Dungey by.

When the fire works went off and all the sparks had settled, it was Austin Stroupe who took his first career Supercross win, followed closely by Lawrence.  Weimer barely managed to hang on for third after crashing in a tricky step-on step-off just before the last turn, and finished the race without his front fender.  Dungey’s hard charge paid off as he crossed the line in fourth, and Brett Metcalf rounded out the top five.

RESULTS:
1. Austin Stroupe
2. Jason Lawrence
3. Jake Weimer
4. Ryan Dungey
5. Brett Metcalfe
6. Dan Reardon
7. Robert Kiniry
8. Wil Hahn
9. Michael Lapaglia
10. Matthew Lemoine
11. Kyle Cunningham
12. Tommy Hahn
13. Billy Laninovich
14. Michael Blose
15. Chris Blose
16. Jeff Northrop
17. Adam Chatfield
18. Bradley Graham
19. Brady Sheren
20.  Michael Willard
21. Zach Osborne
22. Davide Esposti

AMA LITES OVERALL SEASON POINT STANDINGS:
1. Jason Lawrence (135 points)
2. Ryan Dungey (129)
3. Austin Stroupe (113)
4. Brett Metcalf (112)
5. Tommy Hahn (101)
6. Dan Reardon (95)
7. Justin Brayton (85)
8. Robert Kiniry (71)
9. Wil Hahn (69)
10. Billy Laninovich (62)

SUPERCROSS MAIN EVENT
After Kevin Windham put down a faster lap time than Chad Reed in practice, fans waited anxiously for the gates to drop for the main event in Houston.  Millsaps railed through the first corner, replicating his holeshot last weekend in San Diego.  Millsaps’ teammate Andrew Short and Monster Engery/Kawasaki’s Tim Ferry followed closely through turn one with Windham right on their rear tires.  Windham quickly made a move for second in the third corner and began to pressure Millsaps for the lead.  Millsaps led the field for the first lap, and then in lap two landed a triple and his front tire washed out on a piece of plastic debris on the track, allowing Windham to take the lead.  

As if to coincide with the ominous weather outside — inside on the supercross track, the perfect storm was brewing.  Kevin Windham was out front on the track that he had designed, and Chad Reed had gotten a mid-pack start.

Reed battled his way from his dismal mid-pack start all the way up to second, with Ferry following in his wake.  Try as he might, Reed had nothing for Windham Saturday night, and Kevin rode on to take the victory, his first since Anaheim 1 in 2005.   Reed crossed the line in a distant second, and Ferry an even more distant third.

Josh Hill proved that his second at A2 was no fluke, and finished a solid fourth place, and Red Bull/Honda’s Andrew Short wrapped up the top five.

Honorable mention goes out to Davi Millsaps for putting on a massive charge from dead last all the way to eighth after his crash on lap two.  Travis Preston didn’t have the night he wanted as it ended for him on the sixth lap when he had to pull off the track with mechanical problems.

Results:
1. Kevin Windham
2. Chad Reed
3. Tim Ferry
4. Josh Hill
5. Andrew Short
6. Nathan Ramsey
7. Charles Summey
8. David Millsaps
9. Nick Wey
10. David Vuillemin
11. Paul Carpenter
12. Ryan Clark
13. Jeff Gibson
14. Jacob Marsack
15. Jason Thomas
16. Dusty Klatt
17. Bryan Johnson
18. Antonio Balbi
19. Josh Hansen
e again made a huge mistake, this time launching him clear off of his bike.  By the time that Dungey remounted and had the bike restarted, he was outside of the top fifteen.  Meanwhile, up front Lawrence and Stroupe were on the gas hard building the gap between themselves and Metcalf.  After riding on the rear tire of J-Law for the entirety of the sixth lap, Stroupe executed a beautiful pass on Lawrence, taking over the lead and never looking back.  Not too far back from Lawrence, Metcalf went down in the first corner on the last lap, letting Weimer and a charging Dungey by.

When the fire works went off and all the sparks had settled, it was Austin Stroupe who took his first career Supercross win, followed closely by Lawrence.  Weimer barely managed to hang on for third after crashing in a tricky step-on step-off just before the last turn, and finished the race without his front fender.  Dungey’s hard charge paid off as he crossed the line in fourth, and Brett Metcalf rounded out the top five.

RESULTS:
1. Austin Stroupe
2. Jason Lawrence
3. Jake Weimer
4. Ryan Dungey
5. Brett Metcalfe
6. Dan Reardon
7. Robert Kiniry
8. Wil Hahn
9. Michael Lapaglia
10. Matthew Lemoine
11. Kyle Cunningham
12. Tommy Hahn
13. Billy Laninovich
14. Michael Blose
15. Chris Blose
16. Jeff Northrop
17. Adam Chatfield
18. Bradley Graham
19. Brady Sheren
20.  Michael Willard
21. Zach Osborne
22. Davide Esposti

AMA LITES OVERALL SEASON POINT STANDINGS:
1. Jason Lawrence (135 points)
2. Ryan Dungey (129)
3. Austin Stroupe (113)
4. Brett Metcalf (112)
5. Tommy Hahn (101)
6. Dan Reardon (95)
7. Justin Brayton (85)
8. Robert Kiniry (71)
9. Wil Hahn (69)
10. Billy Laninovich (62)

SUPERCROSS MAIN EVENT
After Kevin Windham put down a faster lap time than Chad Reed in practice, fans waited anxiously for the gates to drop for the main event in Houston.  Millsaps railed through the first corner, replicating his holeshot last weekend in San Diego.  Millsaps’ teammate Andrew Short and Monster Engery/Kawasaki’s Tim Ferry followed closely through turn one with Windham right on their rear tires.  Windham quickly made a move for second in the third corner and began to pressure Millsaps for the lead.  Millsaps led the field for the first lap, and then in lap two landed a triple and his front tire washed out on a piece of plastic debris on the track, allowing Windham to take the lead.  

As if to coincide with the ominous weather outside — inside on the supercross track, the perfect storm was brewing.  Kevin Windham was out front on the track that he had designed, and Chad Reed had gotten a mid-pack start.

Reed battled his way from his dismal mid-pack start all the way up to second, with Ferry following in his wake.  Try as he might, Reed had nothing for Windham Saturday night, and Kevin rode on to take the victory, his first since Anaheim 1 in 2005.   Reed crossed the line in a distant second, and Ferry an even more distant third.

Josh Hill proved that his second at A2 was no fluke, and finished a solid fourth place, and Red Bull/Honda’s Andrew Short wrapped up the top five.

Honorable mention goes out to Davi Millsaps for putting on a massive charge from dead last all the way to eighth after his crash on lap two.  Travis Preston didn’t have the night he wanted as it ended for him on the sixth lap when he had to pull off the track with mechanical problems.

Results:
1. Kevin Windham
2. Chad Reed
3. Tim Ferry
4. Josh Hill
5. Andrew Short
6. Nathan Ramsey
7. Charles Summey
8. David Millsaps
9. Nick Wey
10. David Vuillemin
11. Paul Carpenter
12. Ryan Clark
13. Jeff Gibson
14. Jacob Marsack
15. Jason Thomas
16. Dusty Klatt
17. Bryan Johnson
18. Antonio Balbi
19. Josh Hansen
20. Travis Preston

AMA SUPERCROSS OVERALL POINT STANDINGS:
1. Chad Reed (169 points)
2. Kevin Windham (137)
3. Tim Ferry (119)
4. Andrew Short (101)
5. David Millsaps (98)
6. Nathan Ramsey (85)
7. Josh Hill (82)
8. Nick Wey (77)
9. Mike Alessi (69)
10. David Vuillemin (60)

20. Travis Preston

AMA SUPERCROSS OVERALL POINT STANDINGS:
1. Chad Reed (169 points)
2. Kevin Windham (137)
3. Tim Ferry (119)
4. Andrew Short (101)
5. David Millsaps (98)
6. Nathan Ramsey (85)
7. Josh Hill (82)
8. Nick Wey (77)
9. Mike Alessi (69)
10. David Vuillemin (60)